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The man who turned $30K into a million-dollar Internet business
The thing that’s most impressive about the world of technology is that it can turn thousands of dollars into millions in the blink of an eye, similar to the whirlwind days of the 1980s and 1990s, when wolves of Wall Street like Jordan Belfort played the intoxicating money game with microcap investing that became the stuff of legends – and movie screens, starring Australian hottie Margot Robbie and Titanic hero Leonardo DiCaprio being directed by Martin Scorsese.
The tumultuous ebbs and flows of the stock market boiler rooms have been perhaps only rivaled by the 2010s way in which the world wide web is transforming lives, from YouTube stars to hackers in Romania – morphing the latter into Benz-driving millionaires, and making entire towns rich.
An F1 Tornado Arrives in the Midst of a Business Launch
The story of Brandon Elliott is just as dramatic. In 2007, the then 31-year-old entrepreneur toiled away on a project that necessitated displays of a multitude of screenshots from various websites. When the Amazon-offered Alexa.com screenshot maker fell short, he created his own.
“It took me three solid months of 18-hour days, 7 days a week,” Elliott said. “There was significant difficulty in making even a single screenshot on Linux back then, which so many others said would be impossible, but it was just as tough to automate the entire process."
Of course, no good story is missing a twister and flying trees, so cue the F1 tornado that would soon race across the Kennesaw, Georgia, land where Elliott lived on a fateful day in May 2008 that began so deceptively, with peace and calm ruling the atmosphere.
Moments prior to the launch of his “Shrink the Web” service, however, the powerful storm came barreling directly through his neighborhood – one that sent trees slicing into the home where he lived at the time – a house that also served as a datacenter and held his precious servers and vital computer equipment.
Recovering, Relocating and Growing Richer…
Despite escaping death and systems damage, Elliott and his business partner, co-founder Frank Grogan, were able to get the system back up and running about 18 hours after the tornado nearly tore their new venture to shreds.
By 2010, Elliott had moved all the way to Costa Rica in order to stretch the initial $30,000 investment in his business endeavor even further, due to the lower overhead costs the exotic location provided. His plan worked. Since that time, his “little venture that could” has mushroomed into a million-dollar business.
Ever the forward-thinker, Elliott isn’t resting on his laurels – nor lazing about the “rich coast” of Costa Rica sipping guaro all day long. He has now set his sights on returning to the promised land to the north.
“It is our goal to move the company back to the US in a few years once we reach some key milestones,” he said. “We are open to additional outside investment as we begin working on expanding our service but we are in no rush and not aggressively seeking investment. Long term, we plan to increase our customer base, expand into other markets, and perhaps go public, if and when the opportunity presents itself.”